Opens exclusive store in Chennai
FitFlop, a globally renowned wellbeing footwear brand, is scouting for locations to set up manufacturing operations in the country, according to a senior company official.
“From the manufacturing point of view, it’s currently Asia right now, particularly Vietnam and China. We are also looking at Thailand to diversify our manufacturing. A part of our operations team is currently visiting potential manufacturing locations here in India,” Gianni Georgiades, CEO, FitFlop India, told BusinessLine.
He was speaking at the launch of the company’s first exclusive store in India in Chennai on Wednesday.
When pressed for a tentative timeline for commencing manufacturing in India, Georgiades said the company is exploring all opportunities and it would set up operations when the opportunity comes up.
Launched in 2007 by Canadian entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore, FitFlop produces bio-mechanically designed boots, sandals, and shoes that complements the body structure, joint alignment and natural movement. It is currently available in around 65 countries. Priced upwards of Rs 7,000, FitFlop products fall in the premium category.
“We have a new global brand strategy that’s been created over the past 12 months and India forms one of the strategic pillars of that strategy. The country is one of the biggest open toe markets in the world and we feel that we have an opportunity to deliver our products here,” Georgiades said, adding, “Secondly, there’s an opportunity to produce local for local, which is also something that we’re investigating.”
Tie-up with Metro Brands
In January, the UK-based lifestyle and wellness footwear company entered into a strategic partnership with Metro Brands to exclusively retail and distribute FitFlop footwear in India across various platforms and channels and to leverage Metro Brands’ expertise in the Indian market to build FitFlop in India.
FitFlop is now available at Metro and Mochi stores, as well as all multi-brand outlets, e-commerce, and online marketplaces. As per the partnership, Metro Brands will also act as a distributor to various other footwear retail chains across India to expand FitFlop’s footprint in the country. Metro Brands is present across 136 cities and 30 states.
Nissan Joseph, CEO of Metro Brands Ltd, said rising middle-class income and aspirations, and awareness around wellness following the Covid-19 pandemic, augured well for branded players, as consumers globally shift towards branded products.
On plans to expand FitFlop brand stores, Joseph said, right now the focus is on expanding in premium malls and high streets in Tier-1 cities, while making FitFlop products available in Tier-2 and 3 cities through the Metro and Mochi brand outlets.
“When the time is right, we will look at opening FitFlop exclusive brand outlets in Tier-2 and 3 cities. So the strategy is really to cascade down from Tier-1 cities, but without ignoring the tier-2 and 3 cities,” Joseph added.